As part of my new car review series, in which I review the best (and not so best) luxury/premium brand cars for wheelchair users, I thought the first car I review should rightly be the first car I drove after I became a wheelchair user. That my friends, is none other than my Mercedes-Benz B180 AMG Line Premium! This wont be the only Mercedes-Benz that I'll be reviewing however, as I'll also be reviewing the GLA AMG line (which I relearnt to drive in), as well as others from the brand.
The B180 AMG Line is a perfect starter car for both new drivers, and those wanting an introduction into the brand but don't want to go for a full AMG spec car. The car is surprisingly spacious both in the front and back, and the boot can comfortably fit a completely unfolded Quickie Argon2 wheelchair, meaning that when you've got people with you, the chair can be popped in the boot without needing to take the wheels off etc. The back can comfortably fit 2 adults and a child on the bench, and 2 full sized car seats on the back for children isn't an issue in the B class either.
The multimedia system in the car is excellent, and the optional inbuilt Garmin satnav is a definite must have. The car also comes with Mercedes Me, which allows you to remotely lock and unlock your car, check fuel, tyre pressures and other vital information about your car from your phone. You can also track your car using Mercedes Me. These services require a separate subscription to be activated, but the convenience is well worth the money. Standard features on the B180 include reversing camera, collision prevention assist plus, cruise control with limiter, air con and bluetooth on top of the normal things you'd expect in a car.
The car also comes with optional LED intelligent light system, which is something I have and would also recommend. Packs I recommend on this car having got them on my own would be the Premium Pack which gives you 12 colour ambient lighting, park assist, heated front seats, electronically folding mirrors, auto dimming rear mirror and drivers side door mirror, LED headlights including the adaptive high beam assist, and Garmin satnav, as well as Night Pack which gives you rear and rear/side privacy glass, as well as gloss black alloys and black door mirrors.
Ride Quality and Adaptations:
The ride quality is good however, speed bumps can be a problem in the AMG line due to the low ground clearance. The lowered sports suspension is also firm and to some may not feel fun to drive due to being able to feel bumps in the road more than in the standard SE trim. The engine may often feel lazy and sluggish but I've found that this can be counteracted by putting the car in sport mode, something that surprisingly doesn't impact on the fuel as much as you'd expect it to. When the engine isn't in lazy mode, the gear changes are smooth and the car pulls away quickly as well.
The car is easy to drive using push/pull hand controls, and I personally use the Jeff Gosling's for their ease of use and excellent progressive acceleration and braking, something which most other hand controls don't allow. The Jeff Gosling hand controls also don't interfere too much with the leg space in the cockpit area, making transfers in and out of the car much easier. I had my hand controls fitted by Versatile Motor Company in Basingstoke, and they are by far the best company I've dealt with when it comes to adaptations on cars.
Overall, the car is a great car to get started with, either as an introduction into the Mercedes-Benz brand or even as a new driver. The space the car has to offer means that it's a practical workhorse while allowing a little bit of fun in sport mode when you feel like letting your hair down. I'd definitely recommend the diesel over the petrol, and personally I get around 48mpg from my B180 AMG line diesel, which isn't too far away from the quoted combined mpg of 49.6mpg.
Mercedes-Benz B180 AMG line Spec:
Engine displacement (CC): 1461
Fuel Type: Diesel
Max Speed: 118mph
Torque: 260 Nm, 192 ft-lb
CO2 Emissions: 107 g/km
Euro Emissions: Standard6
Miles Per Tank: 400-770 miles depending on how you use it
Gearbox: 7 speed auto
Boot Capacity: 488 litres
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 Litres
Turning Circle: 11m
ABI insurance group: 15